AHQA Statement on Achieving Crucial Goal in Improving Health Quality in Nursing Homes

For Immediate Release
Contact:    Jonathan Gilad
Phone:       571-989-4173
Email:       Jgilad@ahqa.org    

April 27, 2017

QIN-QIOs Reach Crucial Goal in the Effort to Improve Health Quality in the Nation’s Nursing Homes

Effort to Gather Data on Incidents of Nursing Home C. difficile Infections Reaches Nationwide Target

McLean, Virginia – Quality Innovation Networks (QIN), which are comprised of regionally-focused Quality Improvement Organizations (QIO) across the country, have reached their target of enrolling 2,336 nursing homes in the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN). The NHSN is the most widely used healthcare-associated infection (HAI) tracking system in the US. It is currently used by most hospitals and dialysis facilities, but not yet extensively used by nursing homes.

With the achievement of this goal, nursing homes will focus on collecting and entering data on Clostridium difficile infections, a bacterium that causes inflammation of the colon, known as colitis. The CDC will, for the first time, be able to calculate a baseline C. difficile long term care facility incidence rate for 2017. QIN-QIOs can proactively track individual nursing homes’, state, and national nursing home C. difficile infection rates, which are key steps in helping facilities develop ways to lower infections.

This effort was accomplished through federal cross-agency collaboration between the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the CDC, and through the diligent work of QIN-QIO community-based partnerships networked throughout the country. QIN-QIOs, which are divided into 14 regional networks, work with providers to help improve health quality in every state and community. 

“This is just one example of the incredible, wide-reaching work that the QIN-QIO program can accomplish through its unique collaborative network of healthcare providers. With this latest effort complete, the difficult task of reducing nursing home infections can begin,” said Alison Teitelbaum, MS, MPH, CAE, executive director of the American Health Quality Association (AHQA), which is the leading trade association for the QIN-QIO program.

"This project wouldn't be possible without the outstanding work of the QINs and QIOs in every community working to recruit and enroll nursing homes. The National Action Plan to Prevent Healthcare- Associated Infections set a goal of enrolling 5% of nursing homes in the NHSN reporting database within 5 years.  It's a testament to this extraordinary effort by the QIN-QIOs to note that we are now surpassing this goal, with the potential to have almost 15% of nursing homes nationwide reporting data. Once we have real time data on infections through the NHSN, we can truly begin to innovate and improve the quality of care provided in nursing homes across the country," said Dr. Jane Brock, MSPH, president of AHQA.

According to the CDC the “NHSN provides facilities, states, regions, and the nation with data needed to identify problem areas, measure progress of prevention efforts, and ultimately eliminate healthcare-associated infections.”

Since 1984 the American Health Quality Association (AHQA) has represented Quality Improvement Organizations (QIOs) and other professionals working to improve health care quality and patient safety. AHQA is an educational, not-for-profit national membership association dedicated to promoting and facilitating fundamental change that improves the quality of health care in America.